Fourth-quarter home prices ramp up most in Mountain West

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Overall housing value growth remained steady in the fourth quarter with some states going way above the national average, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Home Price Index.

Housing prices grew 1.3% quarter-over-quarter in the final frame of 2019 while jumping 5.1% year-over-year. December's prices inched up 0.6% from November. The increases can be credited to the lack of inventory, which points to heightened competition for the upcoming home buying season. Annual value growth ranged from 4.8% to 6.9% in the past eight fourth quarters.

At the state level, Idaho ranked above the rest, with a year-over-year home price appreciation rate of 11.99% in the fourth quarter. Utah followed at 8.1%, then Arizona at 7% and Washington at 6.96%. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Connecticut home values appreciated the least at 1.93%, just below 2.01% in Illinois and 2.06% in Iowa.

Among the largest 100 metropolitan statistical areas, Boise, Idaho, fittingly had the largest annual growth with 12.73%. Colorado Springs, Colo., came next at 11.02% and Orlando, Fla., was third with 10.08%. Values in Albany, N.Y., actually lost 1.75%, followed by a 25-basis-point decline in Baton Rouge, La., and a 14-basis-point drop-off in Bridgeport, Conn.

"Growth in U.S. home prices stabilized at the end of 2019 with fourth-quarter prices increasing 5.1% from the same period a year ago," Lynn Fisher, deputy director of the division of research and statistics at the FHFA, said in a press release. "The revised measure of home price growth in the third quarter was also 5.1%. Prices in the Mountain region had the highest gains, posting a 6.7% annual growth rate in the fourth quarter."

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